ZIMBABWE celebrates its 34th independence anniversary today amid despair and even lamentations that the ideals of the liberation struggle are fast becoming a mirage.
Thirty-four years is not a long time in the life of a nation and the scars of the bitter war that ended with Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 are still fresh for some.
However, there is no doubt that we are no longer living the dream.
The bearings have been lost somewhere despite the fervent denials of those that have chosen to exclusively enjoy the national cake at the expense of the majority.
Former Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, who was one of the first people to fall victim to the intolerance of the new black ruling elite soon after independence when he was jailed without trial, early this week summed up the frustrations of many Zimbabweans.
Dabengwa told a public meeting in Bulawayo that despite three decades of independence, Zimbabweans continued to wallow in poverty and oppression similar to the Ian Smith era.
He said instead of promoting freedoms and economic emancipation, Zanu PF has since independence in 1980 focused its energies on stifling opposition and retaining State power.
The country made some strides when it adopted a new Constitution last year, but clearly the gains remain on paper, almost a year after the milestone with a number of obnoxious laws yet to be aligned to the new supreme law. Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa still has the temerity to defend some of the statutes such as the criminal defamation law, as he did in the National Assembly.
Freedom of expression is still curtailed and Zimbabweans are sinking deeper into poverty. Surely, as the nation celebrates today, there must be deep introspection. It can no longer be business as usual.
Zimbabwe has to chart a new course, but that cannot happen if our leaders remain beholden to the self-entitlement mentality.
The liberation of this country was not done by an exclusive group and, therefore, everyone must enjoy the fruits of our independence.
Happy anniversary Zimbabwe!